Presidio of San Francisco (February 24, 2011) -- After years of planning, public discussion, and collaboration with regulatory agencies, a plan to restore the Main Post of the Presidio as the "heart of the park" has been approved. Yesterday, the Presidio Trust Board of Directors adopted a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Main Post Update to the Presidio Trust Management Plan, which sets specific parameters for implementing projects and improvements in the district. This legally-binding document is a culmination of review processes under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). This action concludes the formal compliance process and will enable the Trust to move forward and implement the updated plan.
"The Main Post district of the Presidio was once the busy hub of the Presidio. It has been a virtual ghost town since the departure of the U.S. Sixth Army in 1994," said Craig Middleton, Executive Director of the Presidio Trust. "We are excited to be moving forward with the updated plan to make the Main Post a public place befitting a national park and a National Historic Landmark District."
The updated plan includes a number of projects intended to elevate the Presidio's history and to make the Main Post a welcoming place for visitors to the National Park. Projects include an Archaeology Lab and Program in the buildings adjacent to the Officers' Club; rehabilitating and expanding the historic Presidio Theatre and Presidio Chapel; providing small-scale lodging to serve both overnight guests and daily visitors; and improving parking and circulation to make the Main Post easy to navigate and pedestrian-friendly. Greening the Main Parade Ground, which has been a 7-acre parking lot for a number of decades, was previously approved in November 2007 and work is currently underway.
"These projects allow the Trust to reveal the Presidio's history, welcome the public, and employ 21st century green practices." said Michael Boland, Chief of Planning, Park Projects, and Programs for the Presidio Trust.
Public participation played an integral role in the planning process for the Main Post's updated plan. Trust efforts to involve the public included multiple public hearings, workshops, guided walks, meetings with neighborhood groups and civic organizations, and solicitation of formal public comments. During the course of the three-year process, the Trust heard approximately 415 speakers and received upwards of 3,100 pieces of correspondence commenting on the proposals in the Main Post Update.
The Trust also consulted with partner regulatory agencies on development of the final plans as part of a formal consultation process required by Section 106 of the NHPA. In October 2010, the process culminated in the signing of a programmatic agreement with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, State Historic Preservation Office, and National Park Service, along with fourteen neighborhood groups and preservation advocacy organizations, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation and San Francisco Architectural Heritage.
"The Section 106 consultation process was pivotal in developing the final plans allowing for improvements to be made in the Main Post while maintaining its historic integrity." said Rob Thomson, Deputy Federal Preservation Officer for the Presidio Trust. "Working with our partner agencies and a diverse range of interested parties we've developed a plan to implement a range of projects that has the preservation of Main Post historic resources at its core."
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park site that is located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas overseen by the Trust include expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The National Park Service oversees the coastal areas of the Presidio. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio's status as a National Historic Landmark District. The Presidio is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area."